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Church was awesome

Kelly plotted our course to the LDS chapel in Jhubei, which is kind of a sister city of Hsinchu. We were wondering how we'd like attending the local Chinese speaking ward and had planned to take the big trek to Taipei's English speaking ward next Sunday. We were wondering if we'd notice the chapel when we came upon it, hoping to not miss it, then as we went a bit farther, there it was! I was so happy to see the beautiful, clean LDS structure and we drove right up through the open gate surrounding the church property and were able to park in the parking garage right under the building next to all the scooters. It was like spotting a piece of heaven on earth when we saw it, then we all walked in and were greeted with smiles and friendly missionaries.Lindsey and I attended the English speaking Relief Society class and Kelly and Christopher attended priesthood meeting, each sat next to an American missionary who translated for them. Then Kelly, Lindsey, and I were together in the small English speaking Sunday School class.

We went up to the third floor for the final hour for Sacrament meeting, and were given headsets to use. As soon as the meeting began, Bishop Wu, who doesn't speak a word of English, welcomed us and told the congregation that our family will be living here for a year, and asked us all to stand briefly so everyone could see us. Luckily the headsets worked and we heard our cue. Christopher had been asked to help pass the sacrament, and didn't have his headset on yet, so he didn't realize it. The bishop was looking at him, and a lady nearby whispered, "Christopher, you're supposed to stand up," so he looked back at us and saw that we were and stood and smiled too.

After the sacrament was blessed and passed, the bishop said he wanted to begin by having our family come up and introduce ourselves. What? Did I hear that correctly? I about died, but thought, "Here we go. Let's do this." We all walked up to the stand and I was completely overcome with fear and emotion. This unexpected request for an introduction caught me completely off guard, yet at the same time, really made me feel welcome. I was the first to speak and tried to gather myself together, and there was a long pause. I had felt the Spirit so strongly throughout the morning, and over and over, got the impression that we should definitely stay in this ward and not even bother going to the English speaking ward in Taipei. And there I was, facing our new congregation, their warm friendly faces staring up at me, awaiting my introduction. An elder stood next to me with a microphone in his hand to translate. It was kind of awkward. I would say a sentence, then pause for him to repeat it in Chinese. I shared with them how grateful I was to be there, to know that no matter where we go in the world, our church will always be there, and it was a great source of strength. I don't even know what all I said, but do know that I shared my love of our Savior, and my love for The Book of Mormon, and that I looked forward to getting to know them.

Kelly followed and did a great job, adding a couple of Chinese phrases, which they seemed to be delighted to hear. Lindsey, who was cheerful and pleasant went next, and told them she'd be leaving soon, but will be back after her first two semesters of college. Christopher wrapped it up with his charming, enthusiastic disposition, and said he loved being here in Taiwan and genuinely expressed his appreciation for this opportunity. There were two good talks following our introduction. The air conditioning went out and it was extremely hot. The second speaker said he wanted our family to know that it's not normally that hot, and that we could plan to show up in our Sunday best clothes in the future and hopefully the air conditioner would be fixed. They ended up opening the windows and a breeze cooled down the third floor chapel somewhat.

I can hardly believe the change of heart that I had over attending a Chinese speaking ward. Initially, I was completely against the idea and thought it would be better to be able to make the trek to Taipei every week, but from the moment we arrived, and throughout the morning, I kept having a strong urge that this was where we are supposed to be. It hit me so hard, when previously, all along, I had every intention to go to the Taipei ward the next Sunday. The translator did a remarkable job, and her soft-spoken Chinese accent conveyed the messages beautifully throughout the meeting. I was very grateful for her gift to be able to provide this to us. It really felt like home and I can hardly wait to go to church next Sunday. The feeling was unanimous in our family. It really is good to be a Mormon when it comes to moving or relocating to a new place because our church is just one big church, and where ever we go, we have instant friends and a ward family. It's quite a blessing.

Comments

Heidi said…
So incredibly true. Thanks for sharing this Kelly!
Shana said…
My favorite post yet! So happy you had such a good day!
Lisa said…
What a great experience - and the pictures are wonderful!
Bobbi said…
What a great experience, Kelly! As we have moved several times, including to a foreign country, we have found the same thing--such a great blessing to find church. There we find instant friends, semi-family, and the Spirit. It sounds like you found "home" at that ward. I'm excited to read about all your experiences to come.
Happy Anniversary!

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